Posts Tagged ‘ei’

Analysis of the humanitarian crisis, Israel’s responsibility, the US role in the attacks, aftermath, and peace process. (more…)

“Crisis in Gaza: The US, Israel, and Palestine” – Dr. Norman Finkelstein, Ali Abunimah and Dr. John J. Mearsheimer lecture on Gaza ‘War’. (more…)

With continued terror in place for Iraq and Afghanistan, promised terror for Pakistan, Obama’s place to change American foreign policy lies US relations with the UN and Israel. (more…)

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In the latest case of US coddling Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law (IHL), the US reportedly struck down a cease-fire in an emergency meeting of the UN Security [sic] Council last night:

The United States thwarted an effort by Libya on Sunday to persuade the UN Security Council to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza after Israel launched a ground invasion, diplomats said.

Several council diplomats told reporters that the U.S. refusal to back a Libyan-drafted demand for an immediate truce at a closed-door emergency session had killed the initiative, since council statements must be passed unanimously.

The text by Libya, the only Arab member of the council,expressed “serious concern at the escalation of the situation in Gaza, in particular, after the launching of the Israeli ground offensive” and called on all parties “to observe an immediate ceasefire.” Arab nations demanded Saturday night that the UN Security Council call for an immediate cease-fire following Israel’s launch of a ground offensive in Gaza, a view echoed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The United Nations Security Council held emergency consultations late Saturday to address the escalation of violence in Gaza….

“Israel cannot continue to behave as a state above international law – this is the law of the jungle,” [Riyad Mansour, the permanent Palestinian observer to the United Nations, told reporters].

Mansour added that it was crucial for the council to adopt a statement calling for an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.

It was not clear if Washington would back the Libyan text in its current form.

The United States and Libya have clashed repeatedly on the Israeli-Palestinian issue over the last 12 months since Libya joined the Council and the United States has tried to keep the topic off the agenda whenever possible….

Ban has urged key world leaders to intensify efforts to achieve an immediate Israeli-Hamas cease-fire that includes international monitors to enforce a truce and, possibly, to protect Palestinian civilians.

Ban “is convinced and alarmed that this escalation will inevitably increase the already heavy suffering of the affected civilian populations,” the statement said. He asked that Israel ensure civilian safety and allow humanitarian assistance to reach those in need, according to the statement.

The secretary-general urged regional and international partners to “exert all possible influence to bring about an immediate end to the bloodshed and suffering.”

AP:

Libyan Ambassador Giadalla Ettalhi said the United States during the discussions late Saturday objected to “any outcome” on the proposed statement.

He said efforts were made to compromise on a weaker press statement but there was no consensus. Several other council members, speaking on condition of anonymity because negotiations were closed, also said the U.S. was responsible for the council’s failure to issue a statement.

The U.S., Israel’s closest ally, has designated Hamas a terrorist organization. U.S. deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff said the United States saw no prospect of Hamas abiding by last week’s council call for an immediate end to the violence. Therefore, he said, a new statement “would not be adhered to and would have no underpinning for success, (and) would not do credit to the council.”

Arab nations demanded that the council adopt a statement calling for an immediate cease-fire and expressing “serious concern at the escalation of violence and the deterioration of the situation in Gaza and southern Israel,” a view echoed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

If it had been approved, the statement would have become part of the council’s official record but would not have the weight of a Security Council resolution, which is legally binding.

Egypt’s U.N. Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said it was regrettable that one permanent council member — a clear reference to the U.S. — refused to accept any statement at a time when “the aggression is escalating and more people are dying and the military attack on the ground is at its full scale.”

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. observer, said: “We have war. We have aggression against the Palestinian people, and it is a sad and tragic moment when the Security Council cannot address this issue by at least demanding from Israel … to stop this aggression immediately.”

British Ambassador John Sawers said he was “very disappointed” as PM Gordon Brown has called for an “immediate cease-fire” agreement that includes a stop to Hamas rockets, arms trafficking, and border regulations staing that “Israel needs to be secure and Palestine needs to be viable.”

AntiWar.com:

The new draft seemed aimed at answering those concerns, as the British government suggested everyone was open to a resolution if the terms were right.

Yet this seems not to have been the case, and the US rejection this time appears to have nothing to do with the terms of the draft, and everything to do with the fact that it would call on Israel to stop its invasion. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the United States can veto any resolution, and has traditionally done so when the resolution would stand in the way of Israeli military action.

Meanwhile, the death toll has risen above 500, including 87 children, and more than 2,450 wounded. and nothing from the US states conditions addressing Israel’s violations of IHL as have come from the EU:

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, on Sunday pledged an additional $4.2 million of emergency aid for Gaza and called on Israel to respect international law.

“Blocking access to people who are suffering and dying is also a breach of humanitarian law,” Louis Michel, EU’s humanitarian aid commissioner, said in a statement.

“I call on the Israeli authorities to respect their international obligations and ensure a ‘humanitarian space’ for the delivery of vital relief,” he said.

The same article quotes the US State Department as saying “it told the Israeli government that any military action should be ‘mindful of the potential consequences to civilians’.” Leaving out references to IHL is a result of carefully crafted statements. Were the US to mention IHL, they’d be contradictory to not condemn Israel’s actions being executed with US supplies. Still no word from the president-elect, yet, “we don’t have one president at a time when it comes to the economy or Iraq or Afghanistan or other issues.”


Daily Kos

(Follow-up to “The Politics of State Terror” posted yesterday.)

AntiWar.com – “Israel Military Declares Online Media ‘Another War Zone’”:

Across the world, mainstream journalists are expressing increasing disquiet at the way the Israeli government is trying to manage international coverage of its war on the Gaza Strip. Journalists have been barred not just from the strip itself, but the government is now prohibiting journalists from going to parts of Israel near the Gaza Strip.

The Foreign Press Association is petitioning the Israeli Supreme Court to overturn the ban, which is limiting the ability of media outlets to cover the attacks, and forces them to rely on second and third hand reports from Israeli military and Hamas spokesmen regarding the situation on the ground.

As the media struggles to get up-to-date information, television news coverage is narrow, and often relies on interviews with Israeli government officials explaining why the killings are righteous and legitimate expressions of democracy and freedom, more and more people are turning to online news sites (like Antiwar.com) for their war coverage.

The Israeli military has therefore announced that online media and the blogosphere are another warzone for the military to manage. To that end, the military is launching its own Youtube channel to bring the viewing public footage of “precision bombing operations” in the strip.

In ensuring that the only footage of their military operation is provided directly from them, the Israeli military is another step closer to completely managing public perception of the ongoing attacks. The military says the footage will allow the public to “know that people killed did not have peaceful intentions toward Israel,” which presumably means coverage of the killing of five children in their beds in a refugee camp last night, and the scores of other civilian deaths, will be carefully omitted from the official coverage.

To call Israel’s PR machine as exceedingly cynical isn’t irrational, as have those interpreting Israel’s actions as “electioneering with bombs.”

Even AP analysis says the attacks “seemed inevitable” and could “perhaps benefit leading politicians six weeks before a general election in Israel,” pro-Israel groups are lobbying the US Congress. More from Human Rights Watch via the AFP:

Human Rights Watch said that Israeli bombing of Gaza appeared to be “unlawful” and highlighted three incidents it said had resulted in the deaths of 18 civilians, including at least seven children.

“Additionally, Israel’s severe limitations on the movement of non-military goods and people into and out of Gaza, including fuel and medical supplies, constitutes collective punishment, also in violation of the laws of war,” the group said.

The fact is that people are dying and when people die, the first question should be concerning why they die on the simplest level followed by who caused their death and why their deaths were caused. This is a basic, conservative view of morality — conservative in the limited willingness to deviate from the standards presented. Amoral behavior can be argued as pragmatic in situations, but when human life is at stake, the utmost scrutiny is justified by people like us and crucial for institutions to legitimize their credibility. The moral relativism in foreign policy should be real and focused on holding yourself to the same standards to those you hold others and the Newspeak extends to the West in indoctrinating the American people every day to keep us in the ‘they have to follow the rules, but we don’t’ lock-step. In the effort to manipulate people, it should be no surprise that the State of Israel has resorted to bombing human rights offices.

As for the Newspeak mantra of ‘collateral damage’ and ‘these things happen in war’, Bibi Netanyahu actually does make an attempt at moral relativism with the “human shield” charge on Hamas — blaming Hamas for civilians being at Israel’s targets and that Hamas put the lives of innocent civilians at risk. Why is that supposed to be a valid argument, but once someone brings up the fact that Hamas rockets have killed 17 Israeli civilians in seven years and Israel has killed well over three times that number of Gazan civilians (not including police officers), the ‘these things happen in war’ crops up again and people presenting that statistic are clouded in ‘illegitmate arguments of proportionality’?

EXCERPT from ei – “Falling into the Moral Abyss” by Titus North – 30 Dec 08:

A state founded by Holocaust survivors should be a beacon of morality, not a black hole for it. Supporters of Israeli policy (and I distinguish between support for the Israeli people and support for its government’s policies) often justify their support by saying that Israel is the only democracy in the region. Leaving aside certain problematic aspects of that claim, I wonder if these people have ever thought of the implications of Israel, as a democracy, being engaged in continual violations of international law and human rights. Israelis, benefiting from a press that is far more open to the truth about government’s policies than the American media, know a great deal about what the leaders they elect are doing, yet they continue to elect them. Thus, the Israeli public has culpability for their government’s crimes that citizens under a dictatorship would not have.

Of course, the Israeli government could never have pursued these policies without the money, weapons, and diplomatic cover provided by the US, in particular the US Congress. After all, it is Congress’s powers over the “purse strings” rather than the President acting as commander-in-chief that has had a more direct bearing on the colonization of Palestinian territories by Jewish settlers. So many members of Congress have taken money from organizations effectively in exchange for supporting Israeli government interests. So many members of Congress have accepted all-expense paid junkets to Israel, ostensibly for educational purposes. With too few exceptions, they are fully complicit in Israeli government crimes, including war crimes.

What about the American public? I would say that the American public is largely in the dark about what is going on, thanks to a media which makes criticism of Israeli policy practically taboo. Of course, this gives the media a special culpability. Still, there are many Americans who do know the score and fail to speak out. This is particularly true with Gentiles. Let’s face it, although Jews make up only a few percent of the US population, the bulk of the outspoken critics of Israeli policy in this country seem to be Jewish-Americans. It may be that Gentiles are afraid to speak out for fear of being labeled “anti-Semitic,” but I say that as long as you are not anti-Semitic then you should not be afraid. In fact, if you are a true friend of the Israeli people then you should stand with those in their beleaguered peace movement. [read the full article]

Robert Fisk inspires the most valid argument against the Israeli Newspeak: let’s reverse the numbers and say Hamas dropped tons of bombs in extremely densely populated areas killing nearly 400 in Jerusalem in response to less than 20 civilians dead in Gaza. The West would condemn Hamas and call it for the terrorism it is.

Until then, Israel merely considers a cease-fire, which is a daily report that’s looking more like efforts to humor the global community calling for Israel to stop their attacks in Gaza.



Hasan Abu Nimah and Ali Abunimah comment on UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1850, the UN’s first resolution regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict in nearly five years.

EXCERPT from The Electronic Intifada – “Security Council undermines justice and UN Charter”:

Before analyzing what is in the resolution, it is important to note what is not. Under the UN Charter, the Security Council’s primary responsibility is to act to maintain “international peace and security.” And yet the new resolution makes no mention of Israel’s 4 November ground and air attack on the Gaza Strip killing six Palestinians and leading to the collapse of the six-month-long truce Israel negotiated with Palestinian resistance factions. It does not mention the blockade Israel has imposed on Gaza deliberately reducing 1.5 million people to eating animal feed and scavenging garbage while dozens die for lack of medical care. It ignores the desperate warnings of a mounting humanitarian crisis by officials of [UN Relief and Works Agency], the UN agency for Palestine refugees, as they shut down food distribution to hundreds of thousands of persons because Israel would not allow supplies in to Gaza.

The resolution makes no mention of these unconscionable crimes even UN officials have termed “collective punishment” — a grave breach of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Conventions by which Israel is bound as the Occupying Power in the Gaza Strip (Israel’s so-called “disengagement” in 2005 does not absolve it of these responsibilities). If the Security Council were minimally abiding by its own responsibilities it would refer Israeli political and military leaders to the International Criminal Court for arrest and trial at The Hague for these crimes as well as their escalating threats against an occupied, colonized people who have few means of self-defense. Indeed, the resolution does not even mention the word “occupation.”For the Security Council to ignore Israel’s detention and expulsion of UN human rights envoy Richard Falk just a day before it passed the new resolution sends a clear message to other outlaw regimes that UN authority can be trampled on with impunity.

Instead, resolution 1850 is full of deceptive language. The world’s highest international body welcomes, for instance, the 9 November “statement from the Quartet,” and the “Israeli-Palestinian Joint Understanding” announced at the Annapolis summit a year earlier. The Security Council also “Declares its support for the negotiations initiated at Annapolis” and its “commitment” to their “irreversibility” — whatever that means.… [read the full article]

And the absolutely amazing sage, Robert Fisk of The Independent (left), comments that ‘no one in 1967 thought the Arab-Israeli conflict would still be in progress 41 years later’ because of UNSC Resolution 242.

EXCERPT from The Independent – “Robert Fisk’s World: One Missing Word Sowed the Seeds of Catastrophe”:

It was passed in November 1967, after Israel had occupied Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Sinai and Golan, and it emphasises “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and calls for “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict”.

Readers who know the problem here will be joined by those who will immediately pick it up. The Israelis say that they are not required to withdraw from all the territories – because the word “all” is missing and since the definite article “the” is missing before the word “territories”, its up to Israel to decide which bits of the occupied territories it gives up and which bits it keeps.

Hence Israel can say it gave up Sinai in accordance with 242 but is going to keep East Jerusalem and much of the West Bank for its settlers. Golan depends on negotiations with Syria. And Gaza? Well, 242 doesn’t say anything about imprisoning one and a half million civilians because they voted for the wrong people. No one in 1967 dreamed that the Israeli-Arab conflict would still be in ferocious progress 41 years later. And as an Independent reader pointed out a couple of years ago, the Security Council clearly never intended the absence of a definite article to give Israel an excuse to stay in the West Bank. Alas, our reader was wrong.… [read the full article]

– More of “Robert’s Fisk’s World” at The Independent

“War, Geopolitics, History” – lecture by Robert Fisk, introduced by Prof. Noam Chomsky